The highly anticipated MINI Takes the States rally shifted into gear this weekend, setting off on a rather unusual route this time round, with participants setting off from both US coasts in their endeavor. While usually the MTTS people set off on a cross country road-trip that goes only one way, this time round the organizers decided to have people drive from opposite ends and meet in the middle.

The start was given in Orlando, Florida and Portland, Oregon on Saturday, July 14 and will have the participants meet in the middle, at the Keystone Report in Keystone Colorado on July 20. Therefore, the bi-annual event will have travelers cover over 5,000 miles in total, visiting 15 cities along the way. Our own Nico DeMatia will be there to get a first-hand look at what the MINI Takes the States event means to the people participating in it. We’ll also get a first look at the MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop International Orange Edition.

The 800 participants will also be raising money for a charity, this year the motto of the whole thing being #DriveForMore, as they try to help raise more funds for charity partner Feeding America. “Great things happen when the MINI community comes together, and this year is sure to be another unforgettable experience,” said Thomas Felbermair, Vice President MINI Americas Region. “MINI TAKES THE STATES is the ultimate opportunity for MINI owners to enjoy the famous go kart handling and performance of their MINI as they travel through America’s scenic backroads and byways.”

The previous event, held back in 2016, had the same charity partner involved, with the MINI owners covering 4,397 miles over the course of 14 days and raising enough money to provide more than one million meals for families in need through Feeding America. The goal for this year will be to double that performance, as a portion of each MTTS participant’s registration fee is donated to Feeding America®, and MINI will collect food donations onsite each morning.